Here are five reasons why I want to emulate King David in my life:
First, David’s great obsession was to have present tense intimate communion with God. The primary way David pursued this was through studying God’s emotions and attributes. No one in Scripture wrote more about God’s emotions or attributes than David. To the degree that I set my heart to see and understand what God is like and what He feels is the degree that I will live with a satisfied heart. David knew that being King could never meet the great need of his heart: the need for consummate joy. David knew that encountering God’s emotions and attributes was the fountainhead of all authentic joy.
Second, David understood the invincible power of gratitude that flowed from encountering God’s emotions and attributes. The Psalms abound with commands to “give thanks to the Lord.” In Psalm 118 the command is followed by the statement: “for He is good and His mercy/lovingkindness endures forever.” I want to live with the power of gratitude resting on my heart. With so many reasons to embrace bitterness, depression, anxiety and shame David gives me reason to believe that thankfulness is something to seek with all my might. And he tells me that it’s birthed, nurtured and sustained through encounter with God.
Third, David sought to walk in complete obedience before God in every area of his life (dozens of Psalms communicate this zeal). While he fell tragically short of that obedience on a consistent basis, it was clearly the focus of his life; yea even obsession (as many of the Psalms reveal). In an hour when compromise and perversion abounds, David is a signpost of how to live before God.
Fourth, David sought to walk in complete obedience so that he could experience greater depth of personal joy. His pursuit of obedience wasn’t religious externalism. It wasn’t just abstinence. It wasn’t merely behavioural change. David understood that purity of heart made him susceptible to the Holy Spirit which in turn maximized his joy. David’s pursuit of personal holiness was driven by a fierce determination to feel the greatest degree of personal pleasure possible. The reality of the superior pleasures of God to the inferior pleasures of sin took hold of David and consumed him; to the point where everyone from his family to the “drunkards” on the streets mocked him because of his focus and consecration. David understood that his will was no match for the powers of sin and that apart from a greater pleasure to take the place of the sin he was engaging in he’d never get free from it.
Fifth, David’s highest vision for his city and his generation was for the establishing of what he called “a dwelling place;” or, in other passages, “a resting place.” David understood that God was “great” and therefore “greatly to be praised.” And he understood that if God was praised, God would “inhabit the praises of His people” (Ps. 22:3) in great power. So, in order to establish a place where God could dwell with and rest with His people in an inhabiting way, David financially released 4,000 musicians and 288 singers to minister to the Lord incessantly. I want to give my time, my best energy and my money to see men and women established in this same ministry in the cities of the earth that God might dwell in our midst in a manifest way. David presents us with some of the most important truths concerning the historic visitation of God’s manifest presence; that is, how it’s invited, honoured, fostered and stewarded.
When David encountered God’s emotions (‘He is good and His mercy endures’) it filled him with gratitude (‘give thanks to the Lord for’). This gratitude motivated and sustained personal holiness. And the reward of personal holiness was abiding communion with God. To create the optimum context for abiding communion to take place on a corporate level, David fought to establish a dwelling place. This is why he’s one of my greatest heroes; one that I desire earnestly to emulate.